State-owned properties in Troodos, including parts of the Presidential summer dwellings, will be provided to host suspected coronavirus carriers in quarantine.
During the Cabinet meeting on Thursday, the suggestion made by President Nicos Anastasiades was approved.
Action after the decision was swift, as two out of the three who had come into contact with confirmed coronavirus carriers before testing negative, who were still required to remain in isolation for a period, would be transferred to the Troodos properties on Thursday, Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said after the meeting.
“It conveys a message to everyone, and the communities, when the First Citizen of the Republic provides accommodation in his holiday home to be used to confine people who are asymptomatic,” Ioannou said. “It is an example to follow.”
“The measures being taken in airports, ports, and checkpoints are the strictest possible,” Ioannou stressed
Ioannou was referring to recent protestations by residents of the rural village of Kannavia who opposed Government plans for the creation of a quarantine facility in their area to treat potential confirmed coronavirus cases.
Ioannou added that three more spaces for quarantining suspected coronavirus carriers are being evaluated, “for which final decisions will be taken tomorrow.”
The Cabinet also approved the decision made on Wednesday during an inter-Ministerial meeting for increased police presence at checkpoints in view of the need for more effective coronavirus screening.
“I have asked Health Ministry officials to procure services [from the private sector] for the boosting of medical professionals at checkpoints,” Ioannou said.
A second inter-Ministerial meeting is also scheduled for Thursday for the evaluation of additional coronavirus protection measures.
Protocols in place
Ioannou said that there is a protocol in pace for the arrival of suspected COVID-19 cases at hospitals, particularly at the Nicosia and Limassol General Hospitals and the Makarios Hospital in Nicosia, whereby they are guided into the hospital through a different entrance than the one used by the public.
“There are special rooms, so-called negative pressure rooms, which may host up to 10-12 cases,” the Health Minister said.
In the case of a pandemic, then a specific hospital has been designated to deal with the cases, and which will be evacuated of all other patients in order to deal exclusively with coronavirus cases. He said he could not disclose the hospital in question.
“The measures being taken in airports, ports, and checkpoints are the strictest possible,” Ioannou stressed.
A potential closing of checkpoints has not been discussed, Ioannou said responding to questions by media.
The Health Minister reiterated that there is no need for panic, and noted that all necessary measures are in place should the virus reach the island.
A radio campaign informing the public on coronavirus and protection methods will begin on Thursday, to be followed by a TV campaign which is set to launch on Friday.